The Claims of Kinfolk: African American Property and Community in the Nineteenth-Century South

By Dylan C. Penningroth | Go to book overview

Chapter Three
Family and Property in Southern Slavery

Ddear Husband I write you a letter to let you know of my distress,” wrote Maria Perkins. It was early October 1852, a season when chill winds began to blow through the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, down the pretty, white-pillared “Lawn” of the University of Virginia, and across the Charlottesville courthouse square, where nearly every “court day” people were auctioned off to the highest bidder. Maria Perkins’s master had sold her son to a slave trader, she wrote, and now “myself and other child is for sale also…. [M]y things is in several places some is in staunton and if I should be sold I dont know what will become of them. I dont expect to meet with the luck to get [out] that way till I am quite heart sick.”1 This remarkable letter draws attention to two key dimensions of African American life in the 1800s. As she sat picturing the courthouse steps where she would soon be sold away, Maria Perkins’s first concern was for her family. Her second was for her property.

At first glance, it seems clear that the story of American slavery is a story of struggle between white masters and black slaves. From this viewpoint, the fact that slaves could not own property was the low-slung roof on the dungeon of their oppression, one whose other pillars were beatings, killings, and the threat of the slave trader. Between master and slave, where both violence and resources were at stake, there was a grinding, deadly antagonism. It seems natural to assume that the slaves were a community, united by

-79-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Claims of Kinfolk: African American Property and Community in the Nineteenth-Century South
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 310

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.